Our Backstreets #20: Corruption on Steroids


By Marilyn Ferdinand

It was my sincere desire to write a review of a wonderful film I saw the other day and post it today. Unfortunately, local events that perhaps have global implications have my mind spinning in a murderously angry haze. I will lay the facts of the case down for you and ask you to consider what your role as an active citizen of the United States and the world will be at this crucial time in history. Sorry for getting political on you. Please ignore if you turn to this site just for fun.


As most of you know, I live in the Chicago area. I was born here, in the now burned-out ghetto of Lawndale, on the city’s Near West Side. I was raised in a near north suburb, but moved back to the city to attend college. I lived in the city as an adult for 22 years. Currently, I work in an area called Streeterville, walking distance from the #1 tourist attraction in the city, Navy Pier. Upon this pier rests the Chicago Children’s Museum, by all accounts, a very needed and successful institution for visitors and residents alike.


Over the past few months, Mayor Richard M. Daley has expressed his deep desire to move the museum to Grant Park, often called Chicago’s front yard because of its wide-open expanse of public parkland. It would be somewhat analogous to Central Park in New York, but it is not as large and, therefore, all the more precious as a haven from the concrete and steel just to the west.

It’s not only a nice thing to have in our very big city, it’s protected by law. I’ll quote part of an article from the Chicago Reader dated September 14, 2007, and written by Lynn Becker:

Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, jokes that his usual response to citizens concerned about new construction in the park is this: “Well, they’re actually out there building it right now, but thanks for the public input.”

It’s funny, as Homer Simpson would say, because it’s true. Or nearly. O’Neill is lobbying overtime to build a new Chicago Children’s Museum in Grant Park—the same Grant Park that, a century ago, A. Montgomery Ward fought a long, bruising, ultimately successful battle over. Ward was defending the 1836 mandate to keep Chicago’s lakefront public ground, “a common to remain forever open, clear and free of any buildings, or other obstruction whatever.”

The Children’s Museum is but the latest in a long procession of hustles seeking to circumvent that mandate. It’s looking to replace free access to open land with new construction and stiff admission charges, and Bob O’Neill is doing his part to keep those who don’t think it’s a very good idea safely on the sidelines.

I would add that he is doing that on orders from the mayor.

I won’t go into all of the criminal, unethical, and outrageous things the mayor and his lap dogs in the City Council have said and done to ensure that the city is profitable for the few by being paid for by the many. His favorite way of doing this is through misuse of a law setting up tax-increment financing (TIF) districts to help blighted areas make improvements. If you read any of the long-running series of articles on these legal slush funds reported on brilliantly by Ben Joravsky in the Reader, you’ll see how it works—ridiculously, a TIF has been set up in the city’s financial district, hardly blighted with anything but the greedy and ethically vacant. The mayor’s latest big dream is to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago, lying about not using public funds to help pay for it, even while he allows our formerly wonderful public transit system to fall into ruin and our schools to go further into a pit of despair we didn’t think could get any deeper.

It appears that the Children’s Museum move is simply a ploy to break the back of the law to open the lakefront to development, with its first objective being to allow for restaurants and concessions for the Olympics. From the Division Street/NBC5 Chicago blog:

“Opponents are also criticizing a provision of the museum’s secret agreement with the park district that allows them to transfer their 99-year lease to another private corporation without any oversight from the City Council. That agreement between the museum and Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell allows the museum to transfer the building with only the Chicago Park District’s approval:

“CCM may not, without the prior written consent of CPD, which may be withheld or conditioned in the sole discretion of CPD, assign all or any rights under the Use Agreement, provided that CPD’s approval shall not be unreasonably withheld, conditioned or delayed if the proposed assignee intends to continue to operate the project as a children’s museum.”

Navy Pier is the museum’s third home in as many decades, and the museum still hasn’t paid off loans for construction at Navy Pier issued in 1994. Opponents also argue that the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, with one million visitors per year, is four times larger than the proposed Chicago museum, yet CCM officials hope to reach one million visitors in the near future. That makes it likely that CCM will have to abandon its Grant Park location long before their 99-year lease runs out.

“The Chicago Children’s Museum is already in its third home in as many decades, and it’s clear they’re already making plans to move out of this building before it’s even built,” said Figiel. “The inclusion of a liquor license in their zoning application means that this could be a 100,000 square foot restaurant and mini-mall just in time for the 2016 Olympics.”

Why should you care

I’d like to think you should care because you like me and trust my judgment. No, seriously, you should care because this situation is all about good government and bleeds over into our presidential election.

As we all know, Barack Obama will be the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, campaigning on a platform of change. I know some people fervently believe he will be a breath of fresh air, a break from business as usual in that dirty game of politics. I want you to think about it. Change. What does it look like?

Does it look like a politican endorsing the people who are behind the Children’s Museum land grab, who are trying to break the law? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Barack Obama did. From the Reader:

I’m not surprised that Senator Barack Obama endorsed Mayor Daley’s reelection. We’re used to the sight of erstwhile reformers scrambling to board the mayor’s gravy train before it leaves the station.

“Even [Daley’s] detractors acknowledge that the city has been well-managed and has performed in all respects in ways that are the envy of a lot of other cities across the country,” Obama said at his press conference with the mayor yesterday.

Well managed? Daley’s public transportation system is literally falling apart even as it squanders millions on projects it doesn’t need and, in the case of the express lines to O’Hare and Midway, may never even use. Property taxes are skyrocketing as the city plays games of deception with its off-the-books TIF program. Just about every significant public works project—from the O’Hare expansion to the construction of Millennium Park to the Brown Line renovation—has come in late and overbudget.

Mr. Obama also endorsed the entire Regular Democratic Party ticket, which included some people with ethics problems and the incompetent legacy candidate Todd Stroger, who took his father’s place on the ballot after the elder Stroger had a stroke whose severity the Party kept hidden to keep him on the ticket until deals could be made. Toddler has padded his office with PR flaks and high-priced jobs delivered to people he knows in what has been mockingly referred to as the Friends and Family Plan.

barack-is-hope.jpgNow people will say that Obama had little option, that this is what Illinois politicians must do to have a career. But if Obama really is a reformer, is really about change, why wouldn’t he help out the long-suffering residents of Chicago and Cook County. Don’t be fooled by reports that Mayor Daley got 75% of the vote in his latest election—only 20% of eligible voters cast ballots. Everyone else has become too jaded. We don’t believe in the hope that is plastered on Mr. Obama’s attractive, heroic postcards. I’m not asking you all to vote for Mr. McCain. I’m not endorsing anyone for president. What I am asking you all to do is to GET INVOLVED after the election. Hold Mr. Obama—should he be elected—to his promises for change. Do the same of all your elected officials in Congress who are needed to make change. l

If you want to help Chicagoans preserve their public lands, go to Save Grant Park and contribute to the legal defense fund for the lawsuit the organization has filed against the city.

  • Dredpiraterobts spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 1:07 pm

    If I may comment on a post I saw whilst lurking about having one of my favorite guilty pleasures (watching Billy go gaga).
    I think that you asked one of those questions that the ObamaNation don’t want to touch with a ten foot pole (or even three six foot Poles). It is the question of Obama’s core values. “What are they? What will the candidate who ran for a mandate for compromise with the other side say, ‘but not this! this is non negotiable!'”
    I’ve asked it several times and, well, you know what kinds of replies I got.
    It’s a very basic question that it is now too late to ask. Because the answer is, he has no core values (and that’s the good answer, the bad answer is much worse). Yet he is the candidate of the Democratic party (or what will be left of it) and so it comes down to do you hope for him or do you hope for McCain?
    In either case it’s most likely going to be a one termer. The history of the presidency goes against two termers, and the number of landmines that have been lain by the NeoCon faction of the Republican party will make it very hard for either candidate to get much of anything done in the first two years (I refer to issues like the sunsetting of the Bush Tax package as a major political disaster for both parties).
    I think that Rod had a good answer in Harry S Truman’s experience, but Barack H. Obama is no Harry S Truman. Obama is about what the word ‘is’ is. Oil company executives leave their company to be key players on Obama’s team and so Obam can claim that he has no oil company backers, which is like saying that Dick Cheney’s Halliburton connections were effectively severed when he left the company. Truman was not that sort of slick.
    Obama has a loquacious history of blaming everybody but himself. Look at his famous third try speech (the race relations speech which was his third answer to the first Reverend Wright controversy) wherein he blamed the founding fathers, the slave traders, and even his own grandmother for racism in America. He said that disavowing Reverand Wright (whom I don’t disagree with BTW) was a step he would not take! And yet, of course, he did take that step.
    Right or wrong, the fact remains that he did not hold firm and show a “Core Value.”
    Look at how he dealt with the problems in Mi and Fl. He did whatever helped him the most, and then he caved on that too.
    I think that you can be sure that there will be a whole host of people who will be looking for payback from Mr. Obama, people who have the experience to know how to manipulate a neophyte so that he doesn’t even know that he has been used again.
    On the other hand, Obama’s worst news might turn out to be his best news too. What Obama’s lack of any experience whatsoever means is that the fourth branch of government is going to tie him into knots. It’s the same branch that the Clinton’s didn’t anticipate when they went to DC. It’s the bureaucratic branch of Gov’t. With it’s arcane, self contradictory sets of rules and policies and procedures and it’s aversion to both “Change” and “Direct Responsibility” his fledgling administration will be lame before the ducks fly north for the summer.
    Unfortunately, the Democratic party will be blamed for his failure. They (I now speak of them as ‘they’ and not ‘us’) will deserve the blame.
    The best thing that can happen for the Dems is if Barack Obama loses the General Election, at least then they’ll live to fight again in 4 years when McCain will have been roasted and toasted.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 1:25 pm

    Hey, Robert! It’s nice to see you again. I wish I could just lurk around Bonkers Billy, but I never could keep my mouth shut.
    It’s interesting to read what you’re saying. I don’t agree with some of it, and I am hoping for the best, but not expecting it. I see Obama’s presidency, should he win, as something like Jimmy Carter’s but with more backstage compromises. Check this article out for a pretty clear-eyed assessment of Obama’s situation vis a vis Daley (a total coincidence that I posted this the same day the article came out).

  • Daniel spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 3:41 pm

    Preach on, Marilyn.
    I love Chicago. Always have. Considered going there for college. Considered going there after college. Still considering going there in later years. It’s a terrific city, not without its own problems, but still with personality and charm. I was last there in July of 07 and still marvel at the size and reach of its neighborhoods.
    This is bad news indeed. I’m mostly familiar with the museum area, but whether its an Olympics ploy or not, it doesn’t sound like the right people are involved. I actually don’t think the Olympic bid is going to happen anyway. It’s just such an insane amount of money, and the waterfront is not exactly open plains for building an Olympic village and stadiums, right?
    It’s too bad about Obama, whom I support with tempered expectations – not because of who he is or what’s he done, but because of the strings attached to ANY elected office, as you point out. He made his name in Chicago and he can’t be seen as a “traitor” who stands up to Daley. Politics = loyalty, pure and simple.

  • Dredpiraterobts spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 3:45 pm

    Well, it’s easier for me because I just don’t sign up there. Which is easy for me because my joining would cause several to at least threaten to leave. “…I’m obnoxious and disliked , you know that’s so.”
    And then seeing McBain over there making the “rationalist” case for Obama and how Hillary’s war vote is why she didn’t win, just makes me laugh.
    McBain also made the “rationalist’ case for invading Iraq at the time scant few of us were saying it was a bunch of hooey.
    It lets me think that this is more than a little bit of what drove Obama’s popularity: regressive progressive guilt. People that were in favor of the war (like 98% of the country at the time) who now have a case of the guilts and let themselves get over that guilt by laying the blame for the war at the feet Hillary Clinton.
    It never seemed to strike them as odd that “Hillary Supporters” went to Hillary rallies and then heckled her to denounce her vote. They never even seemed to ask themselves who was behind that. Nor are they ever willing to look at the stark political reality of Hillary’s (and the rest of the Democratic Parties) position at the time of that vote. I generally see this as evidence of their naive understanding of politics. If Hillary (who had been spending huge time and money campaigning for Dems across the nation) had voted against (keeping in mind that the vote was practically on election eve) then the Republicans would have had tremendous leverage against the party that had voted “against national security.” Democrats love to hate Karl Rove but refuse to acknowledge the plight of his victims.
    I don’t think that Jimmy Carter is a fair comp either. First of all, Jimmy was an accomplished man before he ran for President, having been a Governor and an Admiral. Secondly, Jimmy brought in Ralph Nader to help wrest the nation from the decades of planned obsolescence and corporate welfare. Jimmy’s nemesis was none other than Teddy Kennedy. The Senate, fresh from their defeat of the Executive Branch (Nixon), were not about to cede power back to the president, and especially not some peanut farmer from Puissant, Georgia. Jimmy ran bureaucratic Washington well, he ran executive Washington well, but legislative DC stonewalled him from day one. And, of course, Military Washington was a basket case! Trying to run a desert operation with jungle hardware, pathetic!
    As to Obama and political bosses. I don’t have a whole lot against political bosses (not that I support them as a species) I am in favor of hiring professional politicians to do what they are trained to do. I am not in favor of bringing in rubes off the street, dressing them up and hoping for the best. These are the most corruptible, because they won’t even know what hit them.
    The only good defense against a boss is a good offense by another boss.
    I had said many times during the primary season, “I know she’s lying, but I expect her to. I also know that he’s lying and I find it disturbing that ‘you’ refuse to believe that he’s lying, even after having seen the evidence.”
    In a perfect democracy, all elected officials would have seen politics as a career and would have to constantly work harder and harder to hold on to their career.
    It looks to me like somebody needs to come in and give Daley a sound run for his money, such that Daley is forced to put the public interest first so that he can maintain his control.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 4:03 pm

    Thanks, Daniel. I was almost literally blind with rage when the City Council vote came in. I hope the courts will go in our favor, but there’s no guarantee they won’t be bought, too. As Nelson Algren said, the unofficial REAL slogan of Chicago is “Where’s mine?”
    The only hope we have of not putting on the Olympics is if the IOC doesn’t award it to the city (and they could be bribeable, so we have a decent chance despite what the reports are). Daley will extend his slush funds as far as possible to help finance it. If Obama becomes president, you know he’s going to Washington to get some federal money. So it’s not just my tax dollars that will be squandered; it’s yours, too.
    BTW, Daley plans to demolish the architecturally important Washington Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, to build an Olympic stadium. (You’ve already seen what he did to official landmark Soldier Field.) He’s already got the Landmarks Commission in his pocket–they’ve been stripping Chicago of its heritage for the sake of condo developers at his behest.
    I truly love my hometown, but I’ve about had enough. The stink is getting too great for even my poor sense of smell.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 4:17 pm

    Robert – Yes, I know all about the Myopic Eye Film Society and felt them close ranks when I kept making “trouble”.
    I don’t think it was near unanimous assent for the war. I recently looked at some polls, and there was never more than about 70% favorable at any time. Still, as you rightly point out (as did I on the board), McBain’s hypocrisy is ludicrous. But he’s always been a tool.
    Of course, you’re generally right about where Carter was effective and where he wasn’t. I was thinking about the Congress. I can envision a version of Chicago’s Council Wars (the City Council vs. the city’s first black mayor, Harold Washington), but it won’t be about race this time; it will be neocon against moderate Democrat. You know who wins that one, yes?

  • Fletch spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 5:08 pm

    The only CHANGE I’m really hoping for is getting a POTUS that can pronounce “nuclear” correctly. I don’t expect much difference from one politician to the other, but that sure would be nice…

  • Marilyn spoke:
    12th/06/2008 to 5:22 pm

    Hee hee! Fletch, it helps to aim low – good way to avoid disappointment.

  • Ed Howard spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 7:46 am

    I’m with Fletch on this one unfortunately. I never thought that after 8 years of Bush hell I’d find myself still unable to drum up any enthusiasm for the Democrat running against him, but that’s the exact position I’m in now. McCain’s a proven hypocrite and a warmonger, but I’m not especially convinced that Obama is much better. My disgust with politics knows no bounds at this point, and the sad story you relate above is just one more example of how disconnected our politicians are from even the most minimal effort to do good for their constituents. I hope this rather sinister plot can be stopped.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 8:56 am

    Ed – It’s interesting that you say that. I sometimes wonder if living in Illinois has made me hypercritical, as this has to be the most visibly corrupt state in the nation. Our pols don’t even bother to hide it anymore; in that, they closely parallel the federal government. In fact, Daley says he’s a Bush admirer. But I guess it’s NOT just me. After reading the messianic predictions of the ObamaNation, I started to wonder if people really couldn’t see what mediocre choices we have (again).
    As for Grant Park, time will tell. But Da Mare usually gets what he wants. Our best hope is to drag out the process until (hopefully) Chicago loses the Olympics to Rio.

  • dredpiraterobts spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 9:36 am

    What gets me about “nukular” is that he only says it that way because he knows that it is a fingernail on the chalkboard for the “intelligencia.”
    As to the Congress under Obama. During the primaries I was posting at http://www.Escapefromelba.com (where I made so very many new friends, he said sarcastically) and more than one person made the observation that Obama must be great, look at the Superdelegates that are endorsing him.
    Oblivion beckons when one makes a statement like that in a political forum. Why did they endorse? One reason and only one reason, to advance their self interest. The fact was that Hillary had built quite the collection of “Pocketed Peckers” by being a consummate politician during her time in DC. An Obama presidency recaptures a lot of those peckers, and puts them back in Teddy’s pocket.
    Kennedy never ever liked any Democrat that he could not claim credit for (and from). The idea that the Clintons would have eclipsed the age of Camelot was more than he could bear. Again, Teddy’s right to do what he can politically, but the rest of the party ought to recognize that Teddy’s party gets regularly outmaneuvered by the right.
    Further, if you are a politician looking to push your star then you want a vacuum above you. Obama provides that space for this. Hillary would not have (it remains to be seen if this is a good thing or not).
    Semi lastly, I also live in a state that will vote for Obama, so I’m not helping McCain by voting for him (which I don’t plan to do, but I don’t fear a McCain presidency). I’m looking to help grow a third party that is a Roosevelt Democrats’ party. Even if that means Nader.
    An Unreasonable Man is a good documentary on Nader’s public life (I would imagine that you’ve seen it). As I try to not derail your blog too far from film.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 9:52 am

    Robert – It really is so good to talk to you again. I think I’ve about run out of fun on MEFS.
    And yes, I did see An Unreasonable Man and mentioned it as a good addition to The Onion AV Club list of best docs about ambitious outsiders. It really did make me reassess Nader, a man I had kind of thought was just trying to reclaim his personal relevance to the times. I don’t think he will ever be a viable candidate for president – plus he’s really getting up in years to make that kind of a run. But I, too, think that a viable third party that would help form something closer to a coalition government – rather than the winner-take-all ethos of today – is worth working for. Good luck to you and call on me if you need help.

  • Dredpiraterobts spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 12:03 pm

    As I’ve said before and I’ll say again:
    1. I was duped by Colin Powell and our uncritical press and Judith Miller. Many others were too.
    2. I had no real power or responsibility regarding this decision. I never made a vote, was never given a microphone, and it wasn’t my full time job. I don’t fault most ordinary citizen who went along with it given the way it was presented. What we know now, definitively, is that this was not true for the administration or Congress. They had a whole lot more confounding information and did nothing, and it was their job as the elite leaders of our nation. This puts Clinton in a much different position than McBain. I’m sorry if you can’t accept that.

    1. If you were duped by Colin Powell then why should anyone trust your judgement now?
    If there was a ever an “uncritical press” it was the press that covered Barack Obama in the primary season, and yet there you are again. Again, why should anyone give any weight to someone who can’t even indentify an “uncritical press” except with the benefit of hindsight (which is generally 50/50 anyway).
    Colin Powell’s speech to the UN was laughably noncredible. The idea of anthrax labs on trucks, and drone planes that he could launch against the US and the fact that “If he hit us with what he has he’d destroy an area 8 times the size of NYC” (as if that would be enough to conquer the USA.)
    And you supported the war even after Hans Blix said, “He doesn’t have any weapons, at all!”
    Further, your rants in support of the war had to do with removing the scourge of Saddam Hussein (whom Obama would presumably have been willing to meet with no preconditions) from the face of the planet. “The world is better off without Saddam Hussein” was the rallying cry, wasn’t it?
    So please don’t pretend that your support was just a case of bad information. Many of us had the same information and concluded in real time that it was bogus. So why should anyone accept your conclusions today?
    2. You had no real power or responsibility, neither did Barack Obama. If your excuse is good enough for you then why do we hold the candidate for the POTUS to a lower standard?
    For a guy without a microphone, you sure bloviated enough anyway.
    You don’t fault people for being stupid. You don’t fault people for believing that Saddam was connected to 9/11 even after it was shown that he wasn’t. You don’t fault people for not using their own brains. And yet here we are with a Democratic candidate for POTUS with the slimmest resume of ANY former US President (and don’t go Lincoln here, Lincoln had actually DONE plenty before he ran. Ran a law firm, debated Douglas, helped form a political party among other things, Obama has done absolutely nothing!)
    Well, you won’t fault people for electing Obama, given the alternatives or given the circumstances or some other excuse, and yet, the reason won’t really matter, because the next time you are asked to use your head for something other than a hatrack, you’ll go right back to form.
    Yes, they should have voted against, but then what would the result have been? There would have been a hue and cry from “duped” brainacs like yourself and the Republicans would have had a Supermajority in both the House and Senate. Social Security would have been a thing of the past by now. Same with Medicare. Same with the US Postal system. Same with EPA, FDA, Education, OSHA, FDIC, Fannie Mae, Freddi Mac. Oil rigs would be sprouting from one end of the National Park system (which would have been sold) to the other.
    Please, McBain try to look at the totality of the situation and not just the self serving slices.
    Marilyn, Sorry to pollute up your blog here with this. But I saw what that chowder head said, and I figured you might want a little back up.
    Thank you for saying it’s nice to talk again. We’ve had our head butts in the past but I’ve always found you to be a well thought out poster who assimilates information and reaches her own conclusions. Amazing that that seems rare, but it seems that it is.

  • Marilyn spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 12:18 pm

    Do you want me to post that on M. Eye under your name? I’ll cosign it if you want. I didn’t read the board after I posted my last response, so I wasn’t aware that he responded to me. I must have touched a nerve. Most of them are ignoring me.
    As for our dust-ups, I honestly don’t remember them and am sure they were pretty inconsequential. When the “debate” on your inclusion in the Merry Marvel Marching Society was taking place, I was in your corner. I always thought you added a lot to every discussion.
    Please stick around Ferdy. I’d love to keep the conversation going, and we have so many bright and thoughtful readers and commenters here.

  • dredpiraterobts spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 12:56 pm

    It’s probably a better idea not to have my name there in that the temptation would be that much stronger to post the one post that is too many and the thousand that are not enough. (Hi, I’m Dredpiraterobts and I’m a postaholic.)
    I’ll put Ferdyonfilm in the Favorites today.

  • dredpiraterobts spoke:
    13th/06/2008 to 2:41 pm

    By now you (McBain) have come here and found who responded to you (you, being a smart fellow that I know you are).
    To deconstruct your reply post there I’ll try to be brief, compact and complete at the same time.
    Counterpoint 1. I’m not the one who changed the subject, I responded to your enumerated points in the order in which they were received. Your first response was to blame Colin Powell and the “uncritical media” and Judith Miller, all of whom apparently were supposed to do your thinking for you.
    Counterpoint 2. Yes, you were wrong, and yes, we’ve all made mistakes and yes, you were wrong and there’s no changing that.
    But given how certain of your rectitude you were (are now are again) at the time, based on the evidence that we were all given, what does that say about the irresponsible Mr Obama? Based on the facts as presented it was unthinkable that we not at least give the President the authority to threaten war against Saddam Hussein. Based on what we knew (according to you) Barack Obama made a poor judgment when it comes to the defense of our nation. (I agreed with that judgment, and I was harangued by the likes of you for thinking that way, but somehow now Barack Obama is deified for coming to the same conclusion I came to.)
    Counterpoint 3. I’ll let you in on a little secret, you joined your tiny message board with 15 people in May of 2004. The war started in March of 2003, so you had a much more “macro” microphone at the time. But don’t let little things like facts get in the way of a McBain rant.
    Counterpoint 4. You’re right, I don’t know you very well at all. I can only go by what you’ve written. You say that you were erroneous in your judgment. You curse your own stupidity on this matter. Scant time before you said that you don’t blame others for having done the same as you and now you’re implying that you are a tiger in offense against stupidity.
    I’m going by what you have said. Granted it is garbled because you want to have it both ways. You want to maintain your “Smart Guy Bona fides’ at the same time as you want to mea culpa your error in judgment therefore looking like you’re smart enough to admit stupidity. Your ego is getting in the way of your ego.
    Counterpoint 5. No, reasonable can see the value of experience differently, but two reasonable people cannot compare the backgrounds of all past presidents and not conclude that Barack Obama has done the absolute least of any.
    Counterpoint 6. In the future, when Barack Obama is either beaten in the general election or when he’s elected and finds himself neck deep in alligators and completely un-up to the task, you will say something along the lines of “Who coulda foresaw that happening?” You’ll excuse your blind devotion and you look for the next issue to be passionately rational about (law of averages says you’re likely to be right sometime).
    Counterpoint 7. And now for the best part; “completely extraneous”. There is absolutely nothing that is extraneous in the vote.
    The White House put the vote to authorize in front of the Legislature in October of 2002. It was the latest twist on the “October Surprise” gambit. It was pure, hardball politics (from a bunch that Barack Obama thinks he’s going to “compromise” with) ‘Vote against, and lose the Mid Term elections in a landslide’ ‘Vote for and we’ll hang this vote around your neck.’ (see Kerry 2004 for details) was the choice that faced elected Democrats. It is beyond foolish to look at that vote without looking at the repercussions.
    The Bush administration was in a no lose situation. The Democrats (lead by Kennedy) were, once again, in a no win. If they voted this measure down then there would have been no stopping the administration.
    This is absolutely NOT extraneous; it is exactly what John Kerry should have been saying every day during his campaign. It’s what every Democrat should have been saying so that eventually it would have made it past the media filters. It’s pathetic that Democrats have swiftboated so many of their own with this issue!
    I might expect Joe 6pack not to grasp that connection, McBain, but not you. You are a genuinely smart fellow, with a good head on your shoulders. You need to use it more.

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